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Clavamox for Dogs: Uses, Dosing, Side Effects

Dog taking a tablet from vet
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Medication details

  • Medication type: Antibiotic
  • Form: Liquid, Tablet
  • Prescription required? Yes
  • FDA approved? Yes
  • Brand names: Clavamox, Bioclav, Clavaseptin
  • Common names: Amoxicillin and clavulanic acid, amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium
  • Available dosages: 62.5 mg, 125 mg, 250 mg, 375 mg, 62.5 mg/ml
  • Expiration range: Once reconstituted, Clavamox drops (liquid) should be used or discarded within 10 days.

Clavamox is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in dogs and cats. This broad-spectrum antibiotic can be used to treat a wide variety of bacteria, making it an effective choice for the treatment of many bacterial infections. 

If your veterinarian has prescribed a course of Clavamox for your dog, you may be wondering what it is and how it works. Let’s take a closer look at Clavamox for dogs, including potential uses and side effects.

What is Clavamox?

Clavamox is an FDA-approved antibiotic that is labeled for use in dogs and cats. If you have ever taken Augmentin to treat a sinus infection or other illness, you are familiar with Clavamox. Clavamox is the veterinary equivalent of Augmentin, and it contains the same active ingredients. 

Clavamox was initially developed in the 1980s. For the last 40 years, it has been widely used by veterinarians to treat many different types of bacterial infections. Clavamox is effective against a broad range of bacteria, including bacteria that may be resistant to other antibiotics. It’s also well-distributed in the body, which means it can be used to treat infections in numerous organs/tissues.

Almost every veterinarian keeps Clavamox (or its generic equivalent) in stock and uses it regularly, and you will not need to see a specialist to obtain this medication. Many dogs are treated with Clavamox at some point during their lives. 

What Does Clavamox for Dogs Look Like?

Clavamox for dogs is available in three different forms: tablets, chewable tablets, and liquid suspension.

Clavamox tablets and Clavamox chewables for dogs will degrade with prolonged air exposure, so both are supplied in a blister pack. Clavamox tablets are white, round pills, while Clavamox chewables are square, brown/tan tablets that are scored down the center. 

Liquid Clavamox is shipped as a white powder in a small bottle. Your veterinarian will add a carefully-measured amount of water to this powder, creating a white suspension. Clavamox drops are typically dosed using a small dropper, with lines on the dropper to indicate dosing quantities. 

How Does Clavamox Work?

Dog gets prescription from vet

Clavamox is a combination of two drugs: amoxicillin and clavulanic acid. 

You are probably familiar with amoxicillin, a commonly-used antibiotic. This antibiotic kills susceptible bacteria by blocking their ability to create functional cell walls. 

Unfortunately, some bacteria have developed the ability to evade amoxicillin’s action, through the use of an enzyme known as beta-lactamase. Clavulanic acid inhibits beta-lactamase, overcoming this bacterial defense. 

Clavamox is capable of killing a far greater variety of bacteria than amoxicillin alone, thanks to the addition of clavulanic acid. 

What Is Clavamox Used for in Dogs?

Clavamox is one of the most widely-used antibiotics in veterinary medicine. It is effective against a broad range of bacteria and it reaches many different areas of the body. 

Common conditions in dogs that may be treated with Clavamox include: 

  • Skin infections
  • Wound infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Bone infections
  • Infections of the mouth and teeth
  • Infections of the inner ear (but not external ear infections) 

How to Give Clavamox to Dogs

Pet owner holds out tablet to dog

Clavamox for dogs can be given with or without food. Giving Clavamox with a meal may help minimize the risk of gastrointestinal side effects, such as vomiting or diarrhea. 

When giving Clavamox tablets for dogs, you can hide the tablet in a small amount of canned food, peanut butter, or another soft treat. Crushing the pill is not recommended, because some dogs will taste the crushed pill and may be reluctant to take the medication. 

Clavamox chewable tablets are flavored to taste like pork. Most dogs will readily accept Clavamox chewable tablets, just as they would take a treat. If a dog is especially picky or stubborn, chewable tablets can be crushed and mixed with a small amount of canned food. 

Clavamox drops for dogs can be squirted directly into your dog’s mouth, using the provided dropper. Shake well before using. Clavamox drops can also be mixed with food, but the smell of the medication may lead your dog to not eat the food or medication.  

Clavamox for Dogs Side Effects

Clavamox is well-tolerated in most dogs, but side effects can occur. The most common side effect is gastrointestinal upset, which may result in decreased appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea. A small number of dogs may be allergic to Clavamox; fortunately, antibiotic allergies are relatively rare in dogs.

When giving Clavamox to dogs, watch for the following signs: 

  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rash or hives
  • Facial swelling
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Fever

If your dog develops any side effects that may be associated with Clavamox, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. If your dog only has a mild decrease in appetite or slightly soft stools, you can continue giving Clavamox until you receive instructions from your veterinarian. However, if your dog is vomiting or showing signs of a potential allergic reaction, stop giving Clavamox immediately, and do not give any more doses until you are able to speak with your veterinarian. 

Reactions With Other Drugs and Medications

Clavamox may interact with a number of other drugs, including tetracycline and other related antibiotics. 

Be sure your veterinarian is aware of any prescription or over-the-counter medications your dog is taking before starting your dog on Clavamox. 

Clavamox Dosage for Dogs

Your veterinarian will select the best Clavamox dose for your dog, based upon your dog’s body weight and the condition to be treated. Clavamox tablets/chews are available in a variety of sizes, so most dogs (except very large dogs) can be treated with one appropriately-sized tablet twice daily. 

What if My Dog Misses a Dose of Clavamox?

If your dog misses a dose of Clavamox, give the missed dose as soon as possible and continue dosing your pet as directed.

If it’s already time for your dog’s next dose of Clavamox, skip the missed dose and resume dosing at the next scheduled dosing time. 

Clavamox for Dogs Cost

The cost of Clavamox for dogs varies, depending on your dog’s dosage and the drug formulation (tablet, chewable, or liquid). In general, you can expect to spend anywhere from $2-$10 per day for Clavamox treatment for dogs. 

Generic formulations are available and may be slightly less expensive. 

Clavamox Storage Instructions

Clavamox tablets for dogs and chewable tablets can be stored at room temperature. These tablets are sensitive to air, which is why they are supplied in a blister pack. Do not open each dose until you are ready to administer the dose to your pet. 

Clavamox drops for dogs should be stored in the refrigerator, once reconstituted to their liquid form.